International Retailer The winds of war
In Europe, SPAR International has activated its network to deliver vital supplies and aid to Ukraine. Using its Polish infrastructure, by 18 March the business had delivered 140 tons of essential goods for distribution through its Ukraine member stores. SPAR International is also working with World Central Kitchen to bring hot meals to families in cities across Ukraine. In the UK, Lidl is betting big on the ongoing growth of that market for discounters, with the opening of its largest ever DC, a 1.2million sq ft behemoth – that’s 18 full-size football pitches – near Luton, which will employ 1,200 people. Incidentally, Lidl is also ramping up its war effort, sending €10m in funds, food, textiles and hygiene products to countries neighbouring Ukraine for distribution to refugees. In the US, the world’s biggest company is pushing to get even bigger: Walmart has let it be known that it wishes to employ a further 50,000 staff by the end of April, including personal shoppers, delivery drivers and data scientists, inter alia. It’s looking to expand InHome, its direct-to-fridge grocery delivery business, from 6 million households currently to 30 million by the end of the year.
Comment: As the situation in Ukraine is showing, we are now living in a world where many duties of the nation state and of international organisations are being assumed by the private sector.